For bringing the sovereignty issue in the South China Sea (SCS) before the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague, the Netherlands, China described the Philippines’ action as foul.
Well, to make it more melodramatic, China portrayed itself as the ‘victim’ of the Philippines’ stance in wanting to solve the territorial dispute in the SCS by arbitration and not by bilateral talks or negotiations and consultations between governments, as China wants it and sees it fit.
For this, the Philippines has irked China terribly prompting the giant nation to call the smaller, weak and poor nation the ‘real trouble-maker and rule-breaker in the region.’
Does the Philippines deserve to be called that just because the country is asking the arbitration tribunal to declare China’s nine-dashed line void and for China to respect instead the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of 200 nautical miles of sea (the West Philippine Sea) from its coastline, which the country is entitled to have by virtue of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)?
Are Filipinos to be called ‘trouble-maker’ in the region just because we are asserting our legal rights over the portion of the SCS, which we call now the West Philippine Sea (WPS), and for that matter purposely grounded a dilapidated WWII-era ship with a handful of Filipino soldiers manning it, aptly describing it as the Philippines’ last line of defense against China’s efforts to control most of the South China Sea?
It must be noted that not only is China contented of claiming 85% of the SCS by virtue of historical grounds, but also wantonly, if not forcefully, still encroaches 80% of the Philippines’ EEZ.
How could one be a ‘victim’ if China has the arrogance and the capability to build artificial islands on disputed reefs, turning it into a military complex – even at your own backyard?
How could one be a ‘victim’ if China has the imperiousness to impose its will and ignore any ruling by the arbitration tribunal concerning the maritime case raised by the Philippines before it?
How could one be a ‘victim’ if China continues to have the swagger, rudeness and barbarity to order the Philippines to remove the grounded, decaying vessel, the BRP Sierra Madre, on Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal) in the WPS upon learning that it is being repaired to prevent it from falling apart?
The Philippines considers Ayungin Shoal, which lies 105 nautical miles (195 kilometers) southwest of Palawan, as being within its 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone.
“China once again urges the Philippines to immediately stop all illegal activities that infringe upon China’s sovereignty and maritime rights, and honor its commitment of towing away the vessel. China reserves the right to take further actions,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said.
Doesn’t sound to me like a ‘victim’, but more like a consistent big bully, which China is in all manner, shape and form.
Why doesn’t China just ask the Filipino fishermen who are the real victims?